|07.12.11 at 5:00 pm ET|
Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy is confident that he’ll get a contract extension before the July 31 trade deadline. However, The Baltimore Sun Reports if a deal isn’t struck soon, the Orioles will likely consider shopping Hardy to avoid losing him to free agency.
Hardy is hitting .278 with 13 home runs and 33 RBI this year. He joined the Orioles last offseason in a trade from Minnesota, and has expressed a desire to stay in Baltimore.
“If [an extension] doesn’t get done during the [All-Star] break, hopefully we’ll make some good progress,” Hardy said.
|07.12.11 at 4:03 pm ET|
Oakland has one of the best pitching staffs in the majors with a 3.14 team ERA, but the A’s rank 28th in runs scored. Josh Willingham leads the team with 11 home runs and 44 RBI. As of Tuesday, the A’s are 12 games back of Rangers for first place in the AL West.
|07.12.11 at 3:24 pm ET|
Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times reports that the Dodgers have acquired 33-year-old Juan Rivera from the Blue Jays for a player to be named or cash considerations. The team also reportedly designated Marcus Thames for assignment.
Rivera hit .243 with six home runs and 28 RBI for Toronto this season, and is expected to play first base and left field in L.A. The Dodgers entered the All-Star break in fourth place in the NL West and rank 26th in runs scored.
|07.12.11 at 2:00 pm ET|
PHOENIX — Prince Fielder is one of the best hitters in baseball. The 27-year-old is putting up his customary monster numbers in Milwaukee, hitting .297 with a .415 OBP, .575 slugging mark, .990 OPS and 22 homers at the All-Star break.
His perennial monster numbers, along with questions about his glove (despite surprising athleticism for his size), have led many to believe that the free-agent-to-be will become a DH at some point over the life of whatever landmark contract he signs following this year.
While the Brewers slugger is aware that there could be a market for him as a DH, he notes that the undertaking is not an effortless one.
“I did it a little in interleague. It’s not easy to do that,” said Fielder. “It’s different because you can’t have the sweat from playing defense. You have to have a routine to get loose. It’s not like you play defense, come in and you’re still warm. It takes effort to keep your body ready. It’s even harder mentally.”
That said, Fielder would not rule out suitors this coming offseason based on positional questions. Though he has spent his entire career as a DH in the National League, the first baseman suggested that he will listen to offers from clubs that see him as a designated hitter. Other factors (presumably, money, years and the opportunity to win) will play a larger factor in his decision.
“I’m not really ruling anything out,” said Fielder. “It’s tougher [being a DH], but I didn’t mind it. It was just something, it’s not, it’s something you have to learn. It’s not just something you can do and expect to be good without having to make any adjustment.”
As Fielder’s career in Milwaukee likely winds down, the questions about his future have come steadily. Yet clearly, such queries have done little to impact his performance. Fielder suggests that he has made his peace with his impending free agency and the curiosity from reporters and fans about it.
“It’s not that bad. There have been some questions even before. Now that the time is almost here, it’s not bad at all,” said Fielder. “That’s what’s weird. The closest I’ve gotten to free agency, the less I’ve worried about it. It’s pretty cool.”
|07.12.11 at 1:38 pm ET|
Padres All-Star closer Heath Bell said he would not be surprised if he was traded before the July 31 deadline, and said he’d be willing to work as a setup man for a contending team.
“If you’ve got a closer and want me to be the eighth-inning guy, I’ll be the eighth-inning guy,” Bell said. “If the other guy is better than me, we’re going to have a heck of a bullpen.”
Bell, a free agent at the end of the season, has 73 saves in 77 chance since 2010. Gerry Fraley of The Dallas Morning News reports that the Rangers could be potential buyers, as they have no consistent relief pitching besides closer Neftali Feliz.
|07.12.11 at 1:28 pm ET|
PHOENIX — Jackie Bradley, a center fielder whom the Red Sox selected out of the University of South Carolina with the No. 40 overall pick of the 2011 draft, surprised many by returning from surgery to repair torn tendons in his left wrist in time to play for the Gamecocks as they defended their College World Series title.
It was a satisfying coda to what was a difficult year. Prior to his injury, Bradley — the best player at USC in his freshman and sophomore seasons — had struggled to a .247 average, .346 OBP, .432 slugging mark and six homers in 42 games. Then, his season-ending injury ensured that he wouldn’t have a chance to improve his draft stock down the stretch (his return for the College World Series came after this year’s amateur draft).
And so, a player who was viewed as a mid- to late-first round selection entering the 2011 draft instead ended up being drafted in the supplemental first round. Despite the injury and the down year of performance, the Sox still regarded Bradley’s center field defense highly, and felt that he offered the potential for above-average defense in center field with double-digit home run power.
Bradley, who was the MVP of the College World Series in 2010, hit .174 with a .240 OBP and a .217 slugging mark in this year’s tournament. Given his down performance year and the fact that he was coming off an injury, it seemed fair to wonder whether Bradley might follow a similar path to a player whom the Sox had taken one year earlier with the No. 39 pick — right-hander Anthony Ranaudo — who likewise dealt with injuries and performance issues as a junior but used a stint in the Cape League in order to try to command a bonus commensurate with his preseason status. Read the rest of this entry »
|07.12.11 at 1:15 pm ET|
The Rockies have said they aren’t necessarily shopping Jimenez, but will listen to any offers for players other than Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. The Reds don’t have much spending money because of their low attendance numbers, and they’re reportedly very interested in Jimenez’ team-friendly contract.
Jimenez got off to a slow start this season, but he’s posted a 2.52 ERA in his last eight starts.
|07.12.11 at 1:01 pm ET|
Three-time All-Star and ESPN baseball analyst John Kruk joined the Mut & Merloni show Tuesday at noon and discussed the Home Run Derby that he covered for the network the night before. Kruk said he got a unique vantage point of Robinson Cano‘s Derby victory and that helped him appreciate the show more than he had before.
“I’ve never been on the field for the Home Run Derby,” he said. “I’ve either been up in the booth or watching on TV and it was an impressive spectacle last night.”
Although the Derby can prove to be quite the show, some still find plenty to gripe about concerning MLB’s handling of the All-Star festivities. One of the biggest issues for this year’s game has been the amount of All-Stars selected (82) because of the amount that have dropped out due to injury or a myriad of other reasons. Kruk said this could continue to be an issue down the line if this keeps up.
“Oh no, it’s a problem because it’s trending,” he said. “Every year, it’s going to be more and more and more. One of the problems is it’s on the West Coast. Last year, it was out in Anaheim I guess so players don’t want to come from the East Coast to the West Coast for a day or two and then fly back east. The travel is difficult and all that. I don’t know how you solve it. I understand a player’s perspective of you were voted in, ‘I don’t want to go out there. I never asked to be voted in.’ Then again, take your name off the ballot. If you’re going to get voted in, whether you’re injured or not or whatever, go to the game, tip your hat to the fans who voted for you, let them see you on TV the people who voted for you in your hometown and then go home. Don’t just not show up.”
One of the biggest no-shows this week has been Derek Jeter, who chose not to play or even attend the game after getting his 3,000th hit last weekend, and Kruk took issue with him as well.
“Without question. You can prefice that by saying, ‘The guy should be here. The guy should be here.’ But he’s the one. I read a thing on Twitter saying the faces of baseball, Albert Pujols and Derek Jeter, should be at the All-Star Game. Well, one wasn’t asked to participate because of an injury, which was Albert Pujols. The other was elected in, and decided he didn’t want to come. I read something last night, FOX Sports saying he was exhuasted from chasing 3.000, that the physical and mental exhaustion from chasing 3.000 hits was the reason he’s missing the game. Well, is he breathing? Is he alive? Then, why couldn’t he come out, tip his hat and leave?” Read the rest of this entry »
|07.12.11 at 9:18 am ET|
Colby Rasmus may finally get his wish.
The Cardinals center fielder had allegedly requested a trade from the organization a year ago and could now be officially on the market. Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that this might be the time that the Redbirds pull the trigger on a deal involving Rasmus because of the team’s big need for pitching depth. Strauss notes sources have told him that the Rays have had “long-standing interest” in Rasmus to potentially replace the struggling B.J. Upton in center. The Rays may have just the surplus of pitching, both in the rotation and in the bullpen, that the Cardinals would be seeking in any deal.
Rasmus is two years younger than Upton and has two more arbitration-eligible years than the current Rays outfielder. Rasmus (.246/.329/.413) and Upton (.239/.325/.427) have similar splits, although Rasmus’s .276 average last season shows his potential to raise those numbers in the second half of the season while Upton’s low numbers are actually up across the board from their 2010 levels.
|07.12.11 at 8:48 am ET|
At this part of the season, we typically learn something about the needs of individual teams based on the rumored trades that may happen in the future. But sometimes, we can learn the same things from the trades that didn’t go through.
The Angels nearly acquired outfielder/first baseman Garrett Jones from the Pirates in exchange for catcher Jeff Mathis earlier this season, according to FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal. The Bucs decided not to go through with the deal because they decided they would Jones’s power too much. They were eventually repaid for that loyalty as Jones hit nine home runs, second-most on the team, before the All-Star break.
Here’s what we can take from this trade that was eventually a no-go, according to Morosi and Rosenthal. The Angels want a lefty bat that they can use at first behind rookie Mark Trumbo as well as a player they can slide into their outfield/designated hitter rotation. On the other side, the Pirates may need catching help with Ryan Doumit and Chris Snyder on the disabled list and two should-be minor leaguers playing in their stead.
Both teams are just one game out of their respective division leads at the break.
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